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By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft announces game stories in the Xbox app
by Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft announced today a new feature in the Xbox app for Android and iOS that's inspired by a popular feature from various social networking apps. The Xbox app is adding stories from various game brands such as Forza, Halo, and Sea of Thieves.
The new stories feature has been showcased on Xbox's official Twitter account, and it has a similar interface that you can find on social networking platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Unlike stories from those services, however, the Xbox app's version displays the buttons for likes, shares, and comments at the bottom of the screen as well as their corresponding numbers.
Stories can be found below the cards of game titles and are labeled "official posts from games" instead of "stories". This means the content you will see are coming only from game brands you follow instead of from your friends like you can with most social media apps. There's no word on whether Microsoft will give users the ability to post stories on the app.
The new experience should be a welcome development for those who want to receive updates from their favorite game brands or studios. It also expands the app's capabilities after Microsoft added support for remote play last year along with a new UI that debuted on Xbox consoles with the October 2020 update.
By George P
Now that we're getting Windows 11 and things are starting to change up more than the past few years with Windows 10, I un-pinned the old Windows 10 thread and started this one.
With the leaked build and the event coming on the 24th things are getting interesting once more.
Xbox June update has text-to-speech party chat accessibility options and more
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The June update for Xbox has landed heralding new features and changes to both Microsoft's game consoles and Xbox app on mobile platforms.
Today's release brings speech-to-text and text-to-speech transcription support for party chat on Xbox consoles. With speech-to-text, anything spoken while in a party can now be converted to text which appears as an adjustable overlay on top of gameplay, while text-to-speech has text chat being read aloud by a synthetic voice (with multiple voices available) for others in the party.
Both functions can be found in Settings > Ease of Access > Game and Chat transcription page. Options > Configure Ease of Access settings can also be used to access it from inside of a party chat.
Elsewhere, the guide has been updated to allow customizing the order of custom game groups. In the My games & apps screen now exists a 'Move groups' button alongside the 'Create a new group' button for easy sorting.
Cross-network play requests — involving games like Minecraft that can be played with Windows 10 and Switch players — made by Xbox child accounts in a family group can now be handled by parents or guardians via the Xbox Family Settings mobile app or from an Xbox console. Speaking of mobile, Microsoft is also rolling out improvements to the Android and iOS Xbox apps that will let users see official social posts from games, while offering like, share, and commenting capabilities.
As for known issues in this update, not much has changed since last month except a single new problem that has surfaced. Microsoft says it has received reports regarding controllers not responding when returning to a game using Quick Resume and suggests restarting the game to resolve it. The update is available now, and users can trigger it to happen right away or wait until it completes automatically.
By Asher Madan
Xbox Deals Unlocked Sale features Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, and more
by Asher Madan
Every week, Microsoft and select publishers discount a number of titles for a weekly Deals with Gold sale. This week, games from the Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, and other franchises are available for substantially less. Below, you'll find the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 games with their respective discounts. The deals and games marked with an asterisk are only valid for Xbox Live Gold members, so you'll need an active paid subscription for the additional discount.
Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Many of the games are also backward compatible so you can play them on your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One. There are some stellar Xbox 360 titles in there too if you only own that device.
Which titles are you interested in? Did you buy any up? Let us know in the comments below.
Halo Infinite multiplayer detailed, brings in personal AIs for players
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
It was only yesterday that 343 Industries unveiled the first gameplay of Halo Infinite multiplayer, and already, another information drop has landed. The studio today gave an overview of the free-to-play venture's updated sandbox, the new Academy training system, bots, Spartan customization, battle pass, and other elements.
The Academy will be an onboarding experience for new players to Halo multiplayer, providing tutorials, weapon drills, and even a training mode with bots for those looking for a warmup before matchmaking.
The grappling hook that has gotten a lot of focus is a piece of equipment you pick up in multiplayer, letting you swing around maps while pulling in weapons and other equipment as well as zipping towards players and vehicles. Powerups like overshield and camouflage are now user activated after picking up, and dying before getting to activate means they drop on the ground for someone else to use.
Meanwhile, vehicles now have a damage system, letting wheels and various parts break off in combat affecting their maneuverability. Speaking of vehicles, 343 is introducing the Razorback as a more spacious and robust version of the Warthog, and alongside troops, it can also carry detached turrets, power weapons, fusion coils, and even objective items in a storage compartment on its back.
The new Personal AI system lets Spartans choose a helpful companion in multiplayer, complete with appearance and personality customization. These will give you "moment to moment updates" such as instructions to go back to base after picking up an enemy flag. Don't worry, the Halo announcer is still there for jumping in with quips for the big moments.
Moving on to customization, your super soldier's body type, voice, optional prosthetics, individual armor pieces, weapons, vehicles, and more can all be tinkered with heavily. Moreover, it's not just in-game this can be done, as both the HaloWaypoint website and app will allow the capability from the outside.
The studio reiterated that there won't be any loot boxes in Halo Infinite, and all content that can be unlocked via progression, the battle passes, or purchased on the shop will be cosmetic in nature. Battle passes will also remain in the game after a season ends so players could go back and earn something they missed out on later.
Halo Infinite's campaign and the free multiplayer portion is coming to PC via the Microsoft Store and Steam, as well as Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles this holiday. Head here to sign up for upcoming flights. The title will have cross-progression across all platforms, and while crossplay will also be a feature, it's unclear if this is only for certain modes or if it will be enabled across everything.